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Department of Environment and Geography

Mark Taylor

Profile Photo
Email mark.-taylormq.-edu.-au
Position Professor
Room No. E7A 631
Telephone02 9850 4221
Mobile 0422940916



Mount Isa Research Update


Mark is an environmental scientist with research, teaching and community advocacy interests in contaminated environments, human health, urban riparian systems and environmental law. He has a PhD from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, in geomorphology and environmental science. In 1999 he came to Australia in to work at Macquarie University, where he is now a Professor in Environmental Science. He has also worked as a Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court between 2007 and 2009.  Mark holds positions on natural resource advisory boards providing pro bono assistance and scientific support.

Along with his research team, Mark has examined the condition of urban riparian systems in Sydney and the effectiveness of legislation and policy frameworks for achieving more sustainable environmental outcomes. He also has a program of research investigating environmental contaminants, in particular lead, and the associated ecological and human health risks. In particular, he is well known for his environmental contaminants research at Mount Isa. This work has resulted in extensive media coverage around the adverse health effects of childhood environmental lead exposure.

Mark has also served as an expert witness in relation to legal cases involving water resource and metal contaminant matters. Mark’s research has not only been published in international peer reviewed journals it has been used by local councils, courts, environmental managers, lawyers and media groups. It has impacted environmental decision-making, management and legislation provisions of acceptable environmental standards and assessment. 


Soil Lead Advice - re: Channel 7 Today Tonight, March 5th 2013.

Learning Education Aspiration Participation (LEAP) Environmental Science Curriculum Enrichment  at Broken Hill

Public Forum: Eliminating Childhood Lead Toxicity in Australia – A Little is Still Too Much
Tuesday 5 June 2012, 9.45am to 4pm

Lead Forum Outcomes:

Forum talk slides and videos

Consensus Document

Selected Media Coverage

ABC Radio National Background Briefing – “Lead Poisoning: A Silent Epidemic” [audio and transcript downloads available]: <> (accessed 31.10.2012). 

The Australian newspaper, 14th January, 2012 “Lead toxic for kids at low levels”: < > (accessed 10.03.2012).

ABC Radio 612 Brisbane, Mornings with Steve Austin, 23rd January, 2012 “What is a safe level of lead?”: < > (accessed 10.03.2012).


ABC Radio NW Queensland, Breakfast with Lisa Kingsberry, 23  January, 2012 “Leading experts say lead levels are too high and suggest they’re causing irreversible damage to children”: <> (accessed 10.03.2012).


ABC Radio 891 Adelaide with Ann Jones, 7th January 2012 “Lead levels in Port Pirie”: <> (accessed 10.03.2012).


ABC Radio National AM with Tony Eastley, 9th March 2012 “Local oppose Australian mining operation in Fiji” <> (accessed 10.03.2012).


ABC News 7.00 pm, story by Philipa McDonald, 9th March 2012, “Fiji residents resist Australian mining push” <> (accessed 10.03.2012).


The Australian newspaper, 9th June, 2012, “Experts press NHMRC on toxic lead levels” <> (accessed 21.10.12).


 The Australian newspaper, 16th June, 2012, “Lead dust a burden for life” <> (accessed 21.01.12).


ABC Central West NSW, Orange, 25th June 2012, Rural Report [re: Kingsgate Bowden Mine, Lue, Mudgee].


The Australian newspaper, 16th July 2012. “Urgent action needed as smelter ‘poisons kids’”. <> (accessed 31.10.2012).

The Australian newspaper, 19th October, 2012. “It’s all in the blood”. <> (accessed 21st October 2012).

The Barrier Truth, 22nd< October, 2012. Lead goal ‘too high’. <'too-high'.html> (accessed 31st October, 2012).


Mark Taylor’s research program in environmental contaminants has investigated the environmental and human impacts from metals transported and stored in aerosols, sediments, soil and water. These studies have been undertaken a range of contaminated Australian environments (e.g. Mt Isa, Broken Hill, Rum Jungle (Northern Territory) as well as overseas. Research outputs have been published in excellent international journals (e.g. Medical J. Australia, Applied Geochemistry, Environmental Pollution, J. of Environmental Monitoring, J. of Geophysical Research, J. of Geochemical Exploration). Specifically, Mark has worked at Mt Isa for around a decade, collecting and analyzing environmental samples (aerosols, dust, fish muscle, soil and water) to understand the pathways of heavy metals in the natural and urban environment. This research has had significant impact because it revealed for the first time, the unequivocal effect of lead mining and smelting on the adjoining area. Other significant contributions to highlighting the problem of environmental lead contamination include media coverage of problems related to lead poisoning in children. For example, ABC radio and television channels along with The Australian newspaper have discussed his research findings extensively, which have raised the public profile of the problem. In addition to his research in the study area, Mark has committed significant time to expert witness work involving providing advice and reports in relation to contaminant cases where there has been potential lead exposure on children (Mt Isa, Broken Hill, Port Pirie, Rosebery). He is also a member of the technical advisory board for Global Lead Advice and Support Service.

In addition to research at Mt Isa, Mark Taylor’s contributions to the applied research field in environmental science has involved integrating across two primary fields: environmental contaminants in human and ecological systems and urban river systems and their condition.  Specifically, he has used science to provide evidence-based information for decision-making in regard to environmental outcomes as an expert, decision-maker and scientist. Other work involving linking evidence-based knowledge to decision-making has come through his role as an Acting and then Full-time Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court (LEC) from 2007 to 2009. During his tenure he handed down 47 court judgments and conciliated numerous consent order agreements in matters related to environment and planning. The LEC has the equivalent rank and status of the NSW Supreme Court and is the only court of its type in Australia. His research outputs in this area have had important practical implications in regard to the protection of rivers as well as the protection of biodiverse rich riparian zones along river margins in NSW. The findings of which have been used for creating precedents in environmental decision-making in the LEC. For example, his research was been used by legal advocates in Silva, Nelson v Ku-ring-gai Council [2009] NSWLEC 1060.

Links to research:

Mount Isa Research

  • Mount Isa Contaminant Research Study
  • Mackay, A.K.  2011. Sources, Pathways and Relative Risks of Metal Contaminants in the Upper Leichhardt River Catchment and Mount Isa Urban Area, PhD thesis, pp. 339, Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University [copy available on request].
  • Kuypers, T. 2009. Insights into the ephemeral Leichhardt River-Lake Moondarra Water Supply Catchment. Master of Philosophy thesis, pp. 122 (plus appendices), Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University [copy available on request].
  • "The Earth is not a Magic Pudding" - First Australian Earth System Outlook Conference, 9-10 December, 2010 (
  • Talk - Earth Systems Science, Canberra, Dec 2010
  • Slides - Earth Systems Science, Canberra, Dec 2010

Current/recent Honours and post graduate projects:

Camenzuli, D. 2011. Atmospheric dust metal loadings and exposure risks associated with children's outdoor playgrounds in Port Pirie, South Australia. Honours thesis (1st Class), pp. 117, Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University [copy available on request]. Summary available here

Davies, P.J. 2011. Managing urban water resources in Sydney - integrating science with the role of local government policy, planning and implementation. Ph, pp. 449, [copy available on request]. Summary available here

Ives, C. 2011.  Biodiversity of urban riparian systems: application of ecological data to the design of environmental planning instruments. PhD thesis, pp 252, Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University [copy available on request]. Summary available here

Kilgore, D. Development of a reliable and robust method for the detection of lipid soluble metal complexes in natural waters. PhD candidate, Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University.

Kristensen, L. 2011. Pyrogenic remobilisation of historic leaded petrol emissions. Honours thesis (1st class), pp. 80, Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University. Summary available here

Laidlaw, M.A.S. (ongoing). Environmental lead exposures in urban environments. PhD candidate, Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University.

Little, J.A. 2010. Lady Annie Copper Mine QLD: The environmental impact of heavy metal contamination from the 2009 mine spill. Bachelor of Environmental Science Honours (1st Class), pp. 108, Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University [copy available on request].

Oulton, L.J. (ongoing). Constructed Bioretention, Wetland, and Hydrocon  systems for Stormwater Treatment in Metropolitan Sydney: Their Effectiveness in Improving Water Quality and Reducing the Ecological Risk to Aquatic Biota? PhD Candidate, Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Macquarie University. Summary available here

Recent Awards:

Programs that enhance learning - Educational partnerships & collaborations 2011

Vice Chancellor’s Award (Macquarie University) for Programs that Enhance Learning 2011. Taylor, M.P. and Gore, D.G. Title: Transitioning student learning to applied and professional practice in environmental science


Macquarie University Excellence in Research Awards 2011 

Macquarie University Excellence in Research Awards 2011. Taylor, M.P., Gore, D.G. Hudson-Edwards, K.A., Kuypers, T., Laidlaw, M.A.S., Mackay, A.K., Munksgaard, N., Schniering, C.A. Title: The Lingering Legacy of Lead in Australian Cities and Environments


***Visiting Fellow 2012 - Ms Janae Csavina from the University of Arizona***

See Janae's profile and proposal for her Australian Endeavour Fellowship to work on mining and smelting aerosol contaminants  - Click her for Janae's profile


Australian Teaching Awards Application 2012 for Programs that Enhance Learning, Category 'Educational partnerships & collaborations with other organisations'

Supporting documentation


Click here for pdf of publication list and related outputs

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